Category: Science

Australia’s last megafauna
Post

Australia’s last megafauna

If you had an opportunity to take a safari of Australia during the Pleistocene era (two million years ago), you would gaze upon a very different landscape than the one you view today. You would see herds of huge Diprotodon wombats the size of cars, colossal, three-metre tall, emu-like Dromornis birds, and perhaps even the...

A little life lesson and a plea for perspective
Post

A little life lesson and a plea for perspective

When I walk through the forest, along a beach, or even if I simply sit on the grass in the backyard, there’s something I frequently consider that I’m guessing many of you rarely do: how many animals have I accidentally killed in the process? The reality is that our individual actions, especially if they are...

Remember the wild fires
Post

Remember the wild fires

Every summer, we always seem to be caught off guard. For those of us in southern Australia, maybe those long preceding months of grey sky and rain soak in a deep sense of complacency that fades our memories, like a long-lost tan. But our senses can be easily stirred by the familiar smell of burning...

Ecosystem services: it’s not all about the dollars
Post

Ecosystem services: it’s not all about the dollars

Nature is essential to our wellbeing. There are multiple layers of complexity and nuance to that statement. But they all boil down to the fact that our lives depend on the natural systems around us. Trees, insects, birds, mammals, earthworms, springtails, bacteria, fungi, plants… Soil, water, air… Ecosystems are structured by complex and dynamic interactions...

Seeing the wood for the trees: the value of interdisciplinary work for conservation
Post

Seeing the wood for the trees: the value of interdisciplinary work for conservation

Many of us working in environmental conservation have come from the natural sciences, whether it be from ecology, botany or another related discipline. And as natural scientists, we love asking focused questions and utilising our familiar, usually quantitative, methods to find answers. We love the process, the fieldwork, the analysis and we sometimes get lost...

Life on the line
Post

Life on the line

Think of 450 million years as a 24-hour clock. Before you finish this article, 166 seconds, or just under 3 minutes,  of those 24 hours has passed. That’s how long – actually, how fast – it’s taken for an estimated one quarter of all elasmobranch (sharks and rays) species to be threatened with extinction. Since...

To improve nature conservation we must better embrace complexity
Post

To improve nature conservation we must better embrace complexity

The natural world is truly glorious in its diversity, and in the complexity of relationships between its many millions of species, and the environments in which they live. I was lucky enough to immerse myself in this wonder recently, while snorkelling on Heron Island with my family. The kaleidoscope of colours and chaos of movement...

It’s time to bring positivity back to conservation
Post

It’s time to bring positivity back to conservation

Well before I was born, a number of movements sparked worldwide activism and created tangible change. Most were peaceful, some were more direct and some, but not all, achieved their goal. There have been amazing examples of conservation successes across the world, including the campaign against damming the Franklin River in Tasmania and the banning...

Gone feral: Australian species that are invading the world
Post

Gone feral: Australian species that are invading the world

In Australia, we are no strangers to invasive species. You’ve probably already seen one today – a house sparrow under the table while you were grabbing a morning coffee, or a European honey bee buzzing around that flowering bush outside your house. We know too well how invasive species can disrupt our delicate ecosystem and...